Movies & TV / Columns

Looking At Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s China Trouble

October 19, 2019 | Posted by Steve Gustafson
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Bruce Lee

Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy. From violent content and strong language to foot fetishes, you know what you’re getting when you see a Tarantino movie. 

Now Mr. Tarantino finds himself with a new enemy and it’s one that’s getting a lot of attention: China. 
Seems China has canceled the release of Tarantino’s latest, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and a daughter of an icon looks to be to blame. 

“Sources” have told The Hollywood Reporter that Bruce Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee, made an appeal to China’s National Film Administration for changes to her father’s portrayal in the movie.

In response, the movie’s China backer Bona Film Group is said to be working with Tarantino on a new cut to save the release but no word on if Tarantino will bow to the pressure. 

The critically acclaimed movie, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, had previously been scheduled for an October 25th release but, according to The Hollywood Reporter, “multiple sources close to the situation in Beijing” who have all asked to remained nameless, have confirmed movie is on hold. 

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood would have been Tarantino’s first proper movie release in China, and had high expectations for a healthy box office that would have pushed the film past the $400 million mark. Before this, Tarantino’s Django Unchained had received permission to open in China but in an odd move, was pulled from theaters across the country minutes into its opening night. After some major cuts to the violence, it was given a small release but, thanks to bootlegging, didn’t do much for the box office. 

As for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, according to the “sources”, Shannon Lee, who has gone on record repeatedly about her father’s portrayal in the movie, contacted China’s National Film Administration, demanding that they demand changes to the movie and her father’s onscreen portrayal.

This all comes at an interesting time as China faces myriad charges of oppression and censorship against its media and entertainment. 

Should Tarantino change his movie to appease China? Was Shannon Lee right in asking those demands be made? I should note that Lee’s involvement has not been confirmed, so before spewing anything in her direction, keep that in mind. 
Comment below!